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ICYMI: Happy Valley United joins national NIL collective group, aims at revenue-sharing model for athletes

The association’s founding could lead to a profound change in the college athletics structure.



Penn State football, West Virginia
Sep 29, 2018; University Park, PA, USA; A general view as Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Dwayne Haskins (7) prepares to take a snape against the Penn State Nittany Lions in the first quarter at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

This week, Penn State’s new primary collective, Happy Valley United, joined six other organizations nationwide to form a national NIL collective group known as The Collective Association (TCA). One of the main objectives of TCA will be creating a revenue-sharing model for college athletics that does not require the athletes to become university employees. The move, which could profoundly impact Penn State athletics and beyond, comes as new national guidelines from the NCAA and the federal government could affect the operation of NIL collectives moving forward.

Penn State collective is one of seven founding members of The Collective Association

Wednesday, Pete Nakos of On3 reported that Happy Valley United was one of the seven founding members of the new national NIL collective group, TCA. The collective group, spearheaded by Spyre Sports Group of Tennessee, has three guiding principles according to Nakos: become a voice for athletes and their interests, create a forum for collectives to share NIL best practices, and provide a unified voice for collectives across the country. The seven founding members and institutions are as follows:

  • Florida State – The Battle’s End
  • Georgia – Classic City Collective
  • Michigan – Champions Circle
  • Mississippi – The Grove Collective
  • Penn State – Happy Valley United
  • Tennessee – Spyre Sports Group
  • USC – House of Victory

One of TCA’s first objectives will be to open a dialogue between collectives and the NCAA. Specifically of interest here is the memo released by the NCAA in June that essentially directs universities to adhere to NCAA guidelines when they conflict with state law regarding NIL and athlete compensation. TCA also plans to advise collectives on new federal guidelines from the IRS that would strip the tax-exempt status of many collectives nationwide.

However, one of the most important steps that TCA plans to take is to release a revenue-sharing model framework allowing college athletes to be paid for their services. Under this model, which is expected to be released in the coming weeks, athletes could receive compensation without becoming university employees.

Happy Valley United provides a unified voice for Nittany Lions athletics

The formation of TCA is just the latest in a series of headlines made by Happy Valley United in recent weeks. In June, Happy Valley United was created through a merger of Penn State’s two most prominent NIL collectives, Success with Honor and Lions Legacy Club. The group now provides a cohesive message and a unified path forward for Penn State in NIL, which was previously lacking.

Happy Valley United has been extremely active in organizing events across the region in the last month. Some of the more noteworthy events include meet-and-greets with student-athletes at Arts Fest in State College this weekend and the “We Are! At the Shore” event, featuring several Penn State football players in Avalon, New Jersey, later this month.

The Penn State community has seemingly rallied behind the unified voice of Happy Valley United in the weeks following its formation. Recently, the group was mentioned in a call to action by Penn State football coach James Franklin in one of his boldest messages regarding NIL to date. “Every game week, we call for our #107kstrong. Together we are locked in, committed and show the tremendous power of the Penn State Community. We need everyone locked in on being 1-0 in the NIL race,” Franklin said in part. 

Now, Happy Valley United is extending its reach beyond Penn State, looking to become one of the more influential NIL collectives in the country.

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Matt is a co-owner and Editor in Chief of Basic Blues Nation. Launched in 2022, Basic Blues Nation is one of the fastest-growing websites covering all Penn State athletics, with over 3.5 million readers in 2023. Matt is also a credentialed member of the Penn State football beat, and is a member of the Football Writers Association of America.


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